tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN September 19, 2009 6:00am-7:00am EDT
mind the proven effectiveness of audits and reviews and considering oversight by congress. it also concerns review of the traditional law enforcement role. the fbi just released a 2008 crime statistic. in the work of law enforcement and the trendlines are to be commended. we hope the preliminary indications of this year show the continuation of these trends, despite the economic down turn in the financial crisis and assistance able to put in the economic stimulus package to state and local law enforcement will have to keep crime down throughout the country. and may congress pass the enforcement recovery act which gives investigators and prosecutors the resources they need to aggressively detect and prosecute mortgage fraud and financial fraud that contributed to the massive economic crisis.
director mueller, i want to thank you personally and the bureau for the help you gave us in putting together that important piece of legislation. the testimony of your deputy, others came up here, extremely important to make sure we wrote a law that would actually give law enforcement the tools that need to combat this really vicious and malicious form of fraud. i think we need a similarly aggressive approach combatting health care fraud, another insidious form of fraud that victimizes most vulnerable americans that drives up the cost of health care for all of us. with senator grassley here, i might note senator grassley was my chief co-sponsor on that piece of legislation. made sure we got it voted on the floor. it was applauded when it was signed into law by the president. so i applaud the department for
its commitment to reducing waste and excess of the health care system. i thank the director for coming here and once again i thank the hard-working men and women of the fbi. i look forward to your testimony. senator sessions, you wish to say something? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you director mueller. not often enough in our country do we have people holding positions for which their background and learning and experience equip them for exceptionally well. i believe you are one of the most capable leaders we have in our country. you are utterly experienced in the matters you work with every day. i thank you and all the agents that work tirelessly to make sure we are not subject to another attack in our country. i know a lot of us were amazed
last month when abmeghri, thank you for speaking that this was an unconscionable and unacceptable decision to release that murderer in the political environment he was released in made it even worst. every now and then a leader like yourself needs to speak out on those kind of issues and i appreciate that. the number of issues i would like to talk to you. i'm on the armed services committee and i need to be at this briefing on afghanistan. it's at a critical stage now, so i won't be able to stay throughout this hearing. some of the questions i'll submit to you in writing and ask for before i leave. last month attorney general holder announced he was establishing a high valued
detainee interrogation group. the interrogators will operate out of the fbi under the guidelines established by the army field manual. and according to department press release the group would be subject to the national security council for, "policy guidance and oversight." beyond the announcement and a few press reports, we know very little how it will operate, either administratively or operationally. we need to learn a little more about that. that is an odd mix due of fbi entire heritage and background and training focused on civil law enforcement in america. prosecution of cases in federal courts primarily in this country. we always had military commission. they were referred to in the constitution. we had them before that deal with people who are unawfully at
war with the united states. they are not treated in the same way. i don't understand this at all. it really is an odd mixture to me. this blurring lines that shouldn't be blurred. last week we had testimony from the national academy of sciences strengthening forensics in america, and they question whether law enforcement should be involved in any of the forensic activities. i think perhaps the greatest technological development in criminal justice history is the fbi fingerprint program and this availability to every law enforcement agency in america. and it's used hundreds of thousands of times every week. this would be an issue i think we need to talk about, whether fbi would be required, if that policy were to be affected to somehow transfer this out of the
oversight that you have so ably given it for so many years. this week the committee will consider legislation to shield journalists from being compelled to testify or produce any documents in investigations relating to certain protected information. i believe this information will do considerable, this legislation as written, will do damage to our national security. there are reasons, very good reasons that nations have to maintain certain amount of secrecy. i think we need to be aware of that and hope to ask you questions about that. so thank you for being here today. i look forward to your testimony. we'll probably submit some written questions to you later. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we'll keep the record open for any other statements. director mueller, please feel free to go ahead. >> thank you, and good morning
senator leahy and senator sessions. when i updated you in march, our developing efforts to protect our infrastructure. this statement folks us on criminal threats as well as our other priorities. i pete say in fighting crime, the fbi continues to focus on areas where our skills and expertise will have a substantial and lasting impact. today's fbi is not an intelligence service that collects but does not act, nor are we a law enforcement service that acts without knowledge. we are a security service fusing the capability to understand the breadth and scope of threats with the capability to dismantle those same threats whether they be terrorist or criminal. on the counterterrorism front, al qaeda continues to present a threat to the homeland. domestically through our joint terror and task morses and
overseas through our legal attaches, we try to develop any al qaeda operatives with access to the united states. we are also alert to homegrown, radicalized terrorists. we work with our communities to identify and disrupt these threats. closer to home we are focused not only on terrorist threats but also on the threats posed by violent crime and white collar crime. to address these threats we moved from a quantitative to qualitytive approach. we are using intelligence to identify the great st threats to each of our communities. to be effective, we need to collect intelligence that reveals any links between our existing cases, and also fills in gaps in our knowledge base. intelligence gathering differs from city to city and state to state, just as criminal and terrorist threats differ.
and just has partnerships have been key to our effort against terrorism, partnerships are particularly important addressing criminal threats, as well. partnerships have enabled us to achieve notable successes in the fight against public corruption, our top criminal priority. taking as an example are our efforts along the southwest border where we have focused efforts and concentrated agents. with 120 of the 700 agents we have fighting for corruption, assigned to the southwest border we already have over 100 arrestses and 130 indictments and over 70 convictions in this fiscal year. we are seeing success in the fight against violent crime, as well. earlier this week, we released the uniform crime report depicting crime statistics for 2008. for the second year in a row there has been a decrease in violent crime. while the report does not give the reasons for that decrease, i do believe that the drop in violent crime says much about the efforts of state, local law
enforcement and the efforts of state, local law enforcement with the federal agencies. within our criminal program, our field offices continue to work with our law enforcement partners and safe streets, violent crime task forces in order to fight crime in the communities that you represent. yet despite the positive trends in this year's report, violent crime continues to plague many communities, especially small to mid-size cities. gangs are morphing, multiplying, migrates, entrenching themselves not just in our inner cities, but increasingly in our suburbs and rural areas. the fbi focuses its efforts on the most violent and criminally active gangs. those that function as criminal enterprises. this model enables us to remove the leadership and most dangerous group and obtain and seize their assets.
our goal is not just to disrupt activities, but dismantle their organizations entirely. we are also focused on economic crime, primarily mortgage fraud, health care fraud. these are not victimless crimes. they impact all americans by stealing taxpayer dollars and undermining the integrity of our financial and health care systems. we currently have more than 2,400 pending health care fraud investigations, and more than 2,600 pending mortgage fraud investigations. our investigations are focused on partnerships, intelligence and information sharing through task forces and working groups and targeted law enforcement actions. we are having success generating cases, but also successfully committing these responsible for those cases and in general combatting fraud. in april this year, 24 individuals were charged as a result of a joint fbi arrest investigation that identified an
extensive mortgage fraud scheme based in san diego, california. the scheme involved 220 properties with a sale price of more than $100 million. joint investigations such as this successful investigation and prosecution mean that additional resources for identifying perpetrators of fraud and additional prosecution options for bringing them to justice are essential. similarly in june, i joined the attorney general and secretary sebelius announcing indictments of 53 persons targeting fraud schemes that threatened medicare. these schemes involve persons who arranged unnecessary or nonexistent treatments for straw patients who were willing to go along with the scheme for money. our partnerships in this instance, department of justice and nhs, ensure the prompt resolution of health care fraud cases and contribute to the
prevention of fraud and abuse. in closing, i would like to thank the committee, members of this committee for your support of the men and women of the fbi. we continue to look forward to working with this committee on these and other threats and challenges facing our country. mr. chairman, senator sessions, i appreciate the opportunity to appear here today and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much, director. incidentally, there's been some mention in the lockerbie matter as i said, several of us, myself included, were at a meeting over the long weekend the first of september, and the labor day weekend on the meeting of the united states, united kingdom and parliamentary group that
meets every two years. we raised with our counterparts from england the strong and bipartisan displeasure with the release of the lockerbie bomber. i raised the point it was very unusual for you to speak out as you did and that i strongly agreed with what you said. in my opening statement i talked about retaining the housing of the interrogation group in the fbi. you have a long history of conducting investigation groups. there was testimony about abdue
zabbia after he was captured. they used fbi techniques that proved useful time and time again. khalid sheikh mohammed was a mastermind in the 9/11 attacks and discovered jose padilla. something he had to point out a number of times when the record has been misstated. what lessons in the long history of fbi inteák '4@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @r
many of our agents spent years on the streets as police officers before they come to the bureau conducting interrogations in many environments in many ways and have some expertise. there are some substantial capabilities in terms of interrogation elsewhere in the country. other organizations, particular intelligence organizations. i believe the concept is to bring together this expertise in terms of what techniques work legally and are appropriate under the current statutes and regulations, but more particularly put together, not only the capabilities of an interrogator, but also assure for each of the agencies you have subject matter experts, if it's terrorism or some counterintelligence arena you have subject matter expertise, as well as expertise and background of the person to be integrated so that capability is used to full effect in gaining the information you need.
i will say at the outset that what one wants to do is give the policy maker the options on the table for how you proceed, and to the extent possible, if there is, and the possibility or anticipation of a court proceeding in the united states, open that option. by the same token, i must say the most important thing for us, whether it be the fbi, cia or intelligence community is to gain that intelligence information that will prevent attacks in the first place as opposed to the prosecution of somebody who has successfully undertaken that attack. >> you have oversight to make sure their methods are legal and effective? >> yes, we will. >> what about the army field manual? does that give guidelines? >> yes, that is the manual that is being used to conduct investigations particularly overseas by the military in
places like afghanistan and iraq. has a set of procedures. there may be other procedures there that are not contained within the army field manual that may be wholly useful and legal that should be undertaken, as well. that's something that has to be explored. >> but your department has the oversight in that? >> our department has -- yes, the oversight in terms of we are putting together. i hope fbi leadership with cia as the deputy. i've had conversations with leon panetta. we are agreed this is a valuable contribution and it's going to be a joint effort. >> in that regard, and you've been very responsive to this committee's jurisdiction for oversight, i assume you will be responsive to oversight requests to the committee on how this
group is working? >> absolutely. >> i realize in that regard there will be areas that will have to be responded to in a classified fashion as well as others that could be done in open fashion. >> may i mention two other aspects of it, mr. chairman? that is the importance of having a uniform training and building training curriculae each of the training institutes builds to understand the best possible training capabilities, but also pulling together the science, the capabilities that are known in acedamia so we can build the best possible legal techniques to proceed. >> when congress included the 2006 patriot act re-authorization, we had a requirement in the justice department office and inspector general, in regard to the use of national security letters, section 215 orders for business
records, the inspector general found some significant abuses including widespread misuse of exogent letters. you told the committee about the important steps and we discussed privately, too, the fbi has taken light of these audits, the changes procedures. the justice department sent a letter to me that oversight provided in 2001 and the specific oversight provisions added to the statute 2006. to help ensure the authority is being used as intended. would you agree with that the audits mandated have been helpful in encouraging the fbi to improve its procedures and make sure these are being used the way they should be? >> at the outset, i say we have for several years now, i have
used totally revised procedures that answers and responded to the criticisms of the inspector general. most particularly in office of integrity and compliance within the fbi which has now become a model for such offices. whichever mechanism reviews it is of less importance to me than there be periodic outside review. my belief is that this could well be handled by the annual reviews that are done by the national security division of the department of justice who has an oversight role in this particular arena, but i do believe that there should be some outside review, periodic review. my suggestion would be it be rolled into that review which is
already undertaken by the national security division department of justice. >> thank you. senator sessions. >> thank you. with regard to the threat of terrorism and al qaeda, do we have any reason in this country to feel that that threat is less today or can you tell us if there are any indications that, in fact, the threat may be growing? >> as i think i have repeatedly testified and discussed, the threat is always there. the concern is that we become complacent. i tend to look at the al qaeda threat in three areas. one is rising directly out of the federally administered tribal areas, where you have individuals, any plot controlled by individuals in that area, you then have individuals in other countries, whether it be the uk, united states or elsewhere, who have been radicalized in some
way, shape or form who may travel to pakistan to obtain additional training, which is the second level. i call that a hybrid threat and come back on its own, not controlled necessarily by the al qaeda hierarchy or individuals who have no contact with al qaeda in pakistan, but subscribe to the same extremist ideology that present a threat. it has continued to present a threat over the last eight years and presents a threat today. >> with regard to the shield bill, you and a number of intelligence community colleagues opposed the predecessor of that bill in a letter stating, "the high burden
placed on the government by these bills will make it difficult, if not impossible, to investigate harms to the national security, and only encourage others to illegally disclose the nation's sensitive secrets." are you aware of any nation that has not found it necessary to maintain secrets regarding their national security? >> i can't purport to be an expert. i do not know of any. >> throughout the history of the modern nations, they all have intelligence agencies and have to operate with some degree of secrecy, isn't that true? >> true. i do believe that we are somewhat unique in that there is a first amendment which many countries do not have, as well. >> are you saying the first amendment prohibits the united states government maintaining secret investigations of al qaeda or other things of that nature? >> that is not at all what i'm
saying. the letter from january 23rd is in regard to my view of legislation. >> i think we get that right in legislation and not make a mistake on it. would you share with the members of the committee what kind of roads are in place, and for the most part been in place for many, many years, 20, 30 years, about agents and united states attorneys, federal prosecutors, when they make inquiry of media people? can an agent go out and interview a newspaper person or issue a subpoena on their own to a newspaper person? >> basic rule, it cannot be done without the approval of the attorney general. >> the attorney general himself or herself? >> yes. >> this is one of the highest protective standards in the department of justice, is it
not? >> i wanted to make sure -- one point when i was in the department of justice i was involved in one of these. i was acting deputy and i wanted to make certain it was my role to advise the attorney general because the it is the attorney general's responsibility to sign those. >> well, the point which is, this is institutionally deep in the cause of the department of justice. fbi and department of justice that it's very sensitive matter to inquire of a free news person in america, and it should only be done after the most careful review and there are standards set out in the u.s. attorney's manual that have to be met, are there not, before such things -- >> that's correct. if you look at the record, and i know from submissions from the department, the numbers of occasions which approval has been given is minimum kuhl over
the years. >> that is correct. it almost is not done unless it has to be done for some very significant reason. i'm not sure that's always wise, but i think the err has been on the side of protecting the media if there's been any error in recent years for the most part. let me ask you about this entire, whether they will be mirandaized. the president said we will not give miranda to people we arrest who are at war against us, but it appears that is exactly where we are heading. if this commission or group that was formed to study it, they have required and opine d that most prosecutions would be in
federal courts and not in military commission. or the presumption is they would be in federal courts and not military commissions. isn't there, just yes or no, a significant difference between the evidentiary standards of a military tribunal and a federal court prosecution? >> well, it may well be. i do believe there is a great deal of confusion about this. we have been working over in iraq and afghanistan -- >> there may well be? is there a difference between a military commission with regard to miranda warning and a trial in united states district court? >> there may be. >> yes or no. i think there is. all right. if you are going to try a case in a federal district court, director mueller, aren't you required to comply with the rules of evidence that are enforced in that court? >> yes. >> if you are going to bring a witness in who confessed to a military interrogation and try
to try them in federal court and they haven't been mirandaized and they confess, can't the defense lawyer likely prevail and suppress the confession? >> he would try and likely prevail. >> these cases are going to be tried in federal court, we need to be mirandaizing? >> i don't believe that follows. most of the individuals picked up in afghanistan and iraq have not been mirandized. there are occasions, very few occasions where the determination has been made to mirandize somebody to hold out the option to try that person in another court. >> oh, to hold out the option. if you are going to try them in federal court, they should be mirandized, right?
>> if you want a particular statement at a particular time, generally that has to be mirandize. >> i think that is correct. >> i agree. >> if you have a presumption these cases are going to be tried in federal court, why wouldn't the rule be pretty normal@@@@@@@ di,, he intelligence more important than holding out the option in federal court, and sitting and looking at that, you would want that option available if it could be available and not to the detriment of gaining the intelligence you need to prevent terrorist attacks.
>> i think it gives a lot of pressure to give miranda warnings on many, many cases with the presumption they are going to be pride in federal court and not military commission. this is going to reduce the amount of intelligence obtained on the battlefield that we've never given miranda warnings before in the history of this country of those who are at war against us, and it represents a significant problem. i don't agree with you on that. you can minimize it and we'll ask some written questions, but i feel strongly about this. this is an alteration of military efforts, war through civilian prosecution. it's a dangerous trend, in my opinion. >> director mueller, isn't it a fact -- i just want to cut to the chase here. if soldiers on the field,
they've been in battle and captured some people, they don't get the miranda warning, do they? >> no. of course not. >> i want that clear. i had letters from people that listen to this hoopla and say how can you capture somebody, give them a miranda warning? my son goes in the marines, you were in the military, of course we don't do that. >> i would say the presumption came into place on july 20th of this year that these cases would be tried in federal court and that inevitably required a far large increase of miranda warnings than ever has been done in the history of this republic. >> i might note we have an awful lot that are never going to see a federal court and never be held anywhere else. when you are in a battle and you capture somebody, you don't give
a miranda warning. senator cole. >> i believe, sir, if you ask the commanders in the field, in afghanistan or iraq to determine whether or not the issue of whether or not you give miranda warnings is ever interfered with their ability to do their job, they say no. it's important to have the fbi there and fbi expertise there. >> you think the fbi needs to be involved in interrogations in iraq now? >> in some, yes. >> you are going to pick and choose? >> let's hold that for the next round. >> i think this is an important issue. >> we have modelled entirely the classical distinction between war -- >> senator sessions, i allowed you to have twice as much time as i took in questions. i want to make sure we have a number of senators who want to have a chance to go. >> i excuse myself to go see what we can help win this war in
afghanistan. >> then next to senator grassley and go next to senator fine tine, then we'll go next to senator hatch. senator cole. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, i would like to thank the fbi for the serial murder string in milwaukee that spanned 20 years. the fbi was instrumental to this investigation resulting in a major arrest, as i'm sure you are aware. on behalf of our chief, our mayor, victims' families and our city, we would like to thank you and the fbi. >> thank you, sir. it was a joint effort. i appreciate it. >> thank you so much. as you said in your remarks at the outset, major crime across the country is showing some decrease but seems to be centered in the largest cities across our country.
we in wisconsin have experienced the same kind of decrease in milwaukee. it's been major and recognized and very much appreciated. in cities of medium and smaller size around our state, we also have experienced significant increases in major violent crime. for example, in racine, the number went from 95 in 2005 to 106 in 2008 in. madison, the number went from 391 violent crimes in 2005 to 542 in 2008. in other cities like lacrosse we had similar significant increases in violent crime from 2005 to 2008. as you indicated, it also seems to be a pattern around the country. to what do you attribute it and
what are some of the thoughts you have about addressing this serious issue? >> let me just say there may be three things. first is that the quality of policing in cities makes a substantial difference. secondly, i do believe the spread of gangs can have a huge impact in the rise of crime, in particular. cities the ms-13, latin kings, you name those, and to the extent they gain a foothold in a community, and you see crime rising, and lastly, although the vinyl crimes statistics have gone down over the last couple of years, i do believe that we will face some resurgence in the future. you have a number of persons being released from prison and in some cases because of the shortage of prison space. you have a number of persons who spent substantial periods of time and been arrested 10, 15, 20 years ago and coming out to an economy where it's difficult
to find a job. consequently, i do believe we have to watch this closely. to this end, we are working closely with our state and local counterparts. my belief is always that we do a better job working in task forces. and combining the capabilities and skills of the local police departments and sheriff's offices with the fbi, atf and dea. that maximizes our capabilities of addressing a particular violent crime program in a particular city. >> i appreciate that. what would explain the difference between the decrease in violent crime in the major cities around our country, including wisconsin, and smaller to medium-sized communities. >> i'm not sure anybody can put their finger on it. i'm not sure one answer fits all. it may be the quality of policing, it may be the impact of taking out a particularly violent gang in a particular city. it may be a combination of
utilizing social services along with the efforts of the federal and state and local law enforcement authorities. i don't think there is one answer. we tend to look at crime and say what is the fix for crime generally in our cities? too often, it is individualized and i do recognize the pattern in our larger cities has gone down more substantially than others. to a certain extent, i think the argument can be made that it is the quality of policing in those particular cities. >> director mueller, in your testimony you emphasize the importance of the fbi's coordination with local law enforcement by maintaining regular contact with the officers who are on the street day in and day out, and to work as you indicated, shoulder to shoulder with them. i think we all agree fbi coordination and local law enforcement is a critical component of fighting and preventing crime. for example, fbi agents are currently working with the racine police department to target violent street gangs and
drug organizations within that scene. the presence in the community is also important to further principles to policing that have been successful. what are some of the specific programs that the fbi has been working on to achieve this shoulder-to-shoulder coordination? are there any new programs or efforts on the horizon to improve the ones you're using now? >> well, let me -- as i said, the critical programs for us relate to working on task forces. let me account, if i could, we have almost 200 violent crime, violent task forces around the country. we have almost 2100 agents working gangs and criminal enterprises which is a substantial number for us. we have a hundred -- no, 17 safe trail task forces that have been set up to address violent crime in indian country.
we have 34 child prostitution task forces and working groups and eight major task forces. to the extent that persons are willing to sit down shoulder to shoulder with us and share experience, expertise in task forces directed either at a specific threat like an individual gang or a more generalized threat. we're always open to do that. i believe we're effective when we work closely together when we share the expertise and capabilities in addressing these crimes. >> director mueller, the fbi has brought you to law enforcement that impact every american. we count on the fbi to combat mortgage and corporate fraud, health care fraud, international and domestic terrorism, violent crime, crimes against children and border violence, just to name a few. in these tough economic times we're all cautious about stre h
spending our money wisely and stretching our dollar if we can. the budget increases slightly every year and your needs and activities seem to grow considerably every year. what has the fbi done to stretch the limited dollars that you have so that the american taxpayer can get the most for their dollar? >> one of the more innovative and useful programs we've had is for several years now we bring in graduates from various business schools around the country. we bring them in as interns and then we bring them in for the fbi. they come out of business school with a desire to make a difference and with expertise in areas such as finance procurement and the like. we set them to particular issues. for instance, we had millions of dollars of savings in terms of utilizing rental cars in our rental fleet attributable to the fact that we had a group of individuals that took that particular problem and looked at a better way to do it that would solve millions of dollars and we
had a variety of areas throughout the bureau. we have to look at our facilities because we have 56 field offices around the country and more than 400 resident agencies, but we looked at savings in terms of we need the spread, we need to cover the country and we also have to look at savings up there. i call it savings, and fortunately those who look at the federal budget call it cost avoid abs as opposed to savings, but we are continuously driving to save money and be able to utilize those funds in the areas that may be better spent. >> thank you so much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator grassley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director. it would be nice if i had the department of justice here with you because i think there's a lot of questions that they ought to be answering as well as you answering, but i have the opportunity to ask you so i'll start out with where we were a
year ago now. i asked you a question about highlighting problems with cooperation between the fbi and atf. you gave what i'd have to consider a legitimate answer. dlj requested the opportunity to provide consolidated responses on behalf of all involved doj components. the fbi has provided its input to doj for consolidated response. the only thing is the fbi or the department of justice has not responded. so in this morning's paper, in regard to the same issue of cooperation between atf and fbi, we're finding the inspector general glen find, saying there are repeated squabbles. they're feuding over a bomb investigation. so it brings me to my first question with you about the article or about questions of
the past. i've been asking about fbi and atf relationships for over two years and my last question was submitted, as i said, september 2008. i never received a response. it is completely unacceptable that i get more information from a newspaper article than directly from the department of justice. i'm particularly concerned about this latest news report because committee staff received a briefing from your agency and the atf last year in which they were told, this committee staff was told that the agencies understood the jurisdictional problems and that these conflicts had been resolved, hence in raising question about the inspector general's report seemingly refeuding statements that we had in staff briefing. so i want to know what the real story is. could you tell me, please, what is the true state of cooperation between the fbi and atf
specifically? have the jurisdictional problems been resolved? i suppose in connection with answering that specific question about jurisdictional problems. can they be resolved? can they be resolved? can the current mo)@ @ @ @ rr us. do i believe it's tremendously important for us to be on the scene and utilize our capabilities both domestically ask internationally when there's a possibility of a terrorist event. if it does want turn out to be a terrorist event and falls within the purview of atf then it's
appropriate that atf have it. when we last talked a year or so ago, it was our expectation that mou would satisfy that as the i.g. is pointing out. it does not satisfy it because two sides of it are interpreting it different ways and it has to be resolved. i will tell you that our level and the top levels, i think the cooperation is excellent, is good and has been for a year or two. when you get down to the field there are pockets where it is not so good, and i generally think that it is not institutional, but more individual and each of our agencies have people that lived more in the past than they should and there is more work to be done as the i.g. pointed out. >> for the taxpayers' benefit, i think they would expect agencies within the same federal government working for the same american population would get along to get done what needs to be done and not waste time that way. >> i can just mention one thing,
if i could. if you look at the cooperation we've had, we have jointly investigated any number of places and done it exceptionally well, whether it be oklahoma city or the 1993 bombings in new york. we have had the ability not to get along is the exception in my mind and not necessarily the rule. >> well, if it gets the inspector general's attention, it seems to be still quite a problem. let me go on to another one. in january i co-sponsored the whistle-blower protection enhancement act and legislation updating whistle-blower protection for all government employees and it addresses a number of hurdles of good faith whistle blowers face when bringing complaints alleging retaliation for protected whistle blowing. the legislation was marked up to the homeland security committee where a compromised substitute was adopted as an original co-sponsor i was deeply concerned by a provision that was included at the 11th hours
which strikes the current whistle-blower protection for fbi employees. that law was passed in 1978 and it wasn't effective until '97 when president clinton issued a memorandum to address whistle-blower protections for fbi. those have provided some basic level of protection for fbi employees now over the years and while not perfect are greater than if the homeland security committee became law. i'm very concerned about this provision striking the existing provisions and have been working to determine who authored it. in chasing down where this came from, i've heard a number of different things. some have said the provision came from the white house. others said the intelligence community and others have stated it was done at the request of the fbi. i understand that the committee members and the white house have said this provision will be removed, but i still want to
know where and why it came to be. so director mueller, i'm going to ask five questions, but they can be answered shortly. you've repeatedly stated your view that whistle blowers shouldn't face retaliation. first question, do you believe that current whistle-blower protections under section 2303 should be repealed? >> i'm -- i'm not that familiar with the particular statutory numbers. i would have to get back to you on that. >> well, do you have any idea where the provision of repeal came from? >> no. >> did any individual at the fbi have anything to do with drafting the provision? >> i don't know. >> would you get back to me on that? >> yes. >> has the fbi provided any comment to the department of justice, white house or other executive agencies regarding repealing the existing fbi whistle-blower protections? >> i don't know. >> get back to me, please. >> yes, sir. >> lastly, will you make -- i hope you will make a commitment to me and this committee that
the fbi will not advocate to repeal the existing whistle-blower protections outlined in section 2303 as part of whistle-blower reforms. >> i could do that -- i can't do that now. i would have to look at it. i'm not really familiar with the issue. >> well, you've kept telling me for a long period of time ever since you've been in office and predecessors that you thought whistle-blower protection was important. >> do i. >> -- for the fbi people. >> i would reiterate that whistle-blower protection is important and as we discussed every year i send out an e-mail to persons saying that i will not abide, tolerate the retribution. any time i get a claim of whistle-blower status, i send it immediately to the inspector general so that there is no conflict of interest, and i think as i've indicated to you and as has been proven over the years i will not put up with retaliation against whistle blowers. >> on that last point, would you get back whether or not you
support modification of 2303 as well as the other two? >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> does that have to go through the department of justice for you to answer my question on those points? >> yes. yes. >> will they get back to me? you probably don't know because they haven't gotten back to me in over a year on the other one. >> i will join with distinguished senator from iowa to help get those -- >> thank you. i knew you would. >> -- to get those answers because the senator of iowa has been as much a whistle-blower on those issues and i will work with you on that. >> thank you. >> director mueller, we have in so many jurisdictions that we've had before, i know one is the intelligence committee. we're fortunate to have members of this committee who, by tradition, also serve on the
intelligence committee and we're twice as fortunate to have the chair of the intelligence committee, and i would yield to her now. senator fine stine? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and welcome, director. it's good to see you again. let me begin by using my capacity as chairman of the intelligence committee to thank you. i've mentioned to you, i think on three prior occasions about intelligence-related reports from the fbi not reaching the committee in a timely way, and i want to tell you they are now reaching the committee in a timely way. so thank you very much for achieving that. >> thanks also goes to the department of justice. >> well, maybe that's a precedent that material can flow more quickly. so i thank the department of justice. secondly, the fbi gang assessment indicated that violent gangs are moving from large cities to smaller cities. senator hatch and i have been working on a gang bill for two
years now which has stalled because of house objections and the fact that it's got an enforcement portion to it. could the drop in crime have you locked at whether the drop in crime in large cities is related in any way to this movement of gangs to smaller communities? >> i have not looked at that and will. >> would you? >> yes, i will. i have not -- >> thank you very much. from an intelligence point of view, on the subject that senator sessions raised about miranda warnings, it is my understanding that the fbi just wants to keep the possibility of miranda warnings on the table so that if you have been involved in an arrest of somebody that is likely to be tried in a federal court, that warning can be given, but the soldiers are not giving miranda warnings nor is there any request for them to do
so. is that correct? >> that is true. in fact, we have been, as i say, operating with the military in iraq and afghanistan for a number of years. the military welcomes us and our expertise and it is rare into the occasion when we will give miranda warnings when we are participating in an interrogation on that environment. on the other hand, you may pick up an individual who has been indicted some place and you have the possibility of bringing that person back to the united states to face that indictment for a terrorist act that occurred some time before and at least it ought to be put on the table as to whether or not you wish to mir andize that individual before you talk to them. both were -- well, certainly to make a statement admissible in court in the united states, but that does not necessarily exclude that the person will be interviewed for intelligence purposes as opposed to the admiss ability of a statement in the court of the united states. >> thank you. you cleared that up. i think it's helpful.
in august i had the opportunity to meet with the batf in los angeles and found it very interesting, and later during that period of time i saw this quote from dewey webb, the chief of the atf office in houston saying that at least a dozen women in the past two years have surfaced in federal gun trafficking cases as the suspect or cooperating witnesses in houston and south texas. essentially women with no criminal history, he asserted, were being used to be buyers of high-powered weapons and then giving those weapons to relatives or to smugglers to bring them into mexico. what do you know about this and what is being done about it? >> it's principally a purview, as you point out, of atf, but over the years a person who wants straw buyers will use women or others without any
criminal background, and often it's not something new. it's been there for any number of years. often, whether it be a woman or a man who is a straw buyer, is the avenue you have to breaking down the ream -- the ring and getting the cooperation you need to investigate successfully and to -- and to incarcerate the individuals who are responsible. it's a phenomenon that's been there for a period of time. >> well, perhaps we can discuss that more fully at another time. >> yes, ma'am. >> but, you know, i know high concern of the mexican government is the massive importation of guns from the united states into mexico. big guns, too, and we have to find a way to stop that. so i would like to talk with you, but i would like to turn now to a fisa matter. >> yes, ma'am.
>> the through sunsetting provisions of the patriot act, the lone wolf, the business letters and the roving wiretaps. this is an issue where two committees have jurisdiction, both the judiciary commitet and intelligence committee. i spoke to senator leahy yesterday and indicated that we'd like to work together if possible so we don't get into battles of sequential referrals and that kind of thing. it was my thinking simply to extend those three provisions until the patriot act is up for authorization which is three years hence. i think senator leahy will submit a bill that does other things as well. i have just received a cope of a letter or a letter directed to me and the vice chairman of intelligence dated september 14th by the justice department saying that they are in full
support of reauthorization of all three provisions and that they -- if there were some ideas for some changes, they would be happy to discuss them. the letter is signed by -- ron weiss and it's a rather forceful case for continuation. i would like to ask you if you would discuss your use of those three provision s as and their relevance today in the continuing concerns about terror infiltrating our country. >> let me start by saying i hope you reinforce each other to, aga again, pass these three provisions. >> we'll work it out. >> the -- first of all, the
business records 215. between 2004 and 2009 we've used that more than 250 times. i make the point that that provision is used with that approval of the fisa court in the business records that are sought there, they relate, not ll of the time and >> the records are essential to identifying other persons who may be involved in terrorist activities. >> involving a foreign terrorist. >> involving a -- someone who is a foreign terrorist. >> you are prepared to say that there is no domestic exclusivity but that it relates to a foreign terrorist. >> it relates to an agent of a foreign power. agent as it says in the fisa statute. >> each one would. >> my understanding is 215 relates to the invest -- >> has been used that way. >> yes. >> okay. >> let me check on that... yeah.